Your weekly training split can look quite different based on a few individual factors including your overall goals, training style, training frequency and it can even come down to your recovery and how fast your body recovers from one session to the next. In this post we'll outline below a few different splits so you know how to best train either 3, 4 or 5 days per week! Then with a bit of manipulation, you can adjust as you see fit to suit your lifestyle and day/time commitments.
THE 3 DAY SPLIT – BEGINNER
This is a great introduction to resistance training for weight loss as an overall goal as well as laying foundations for future training.
This type of split is perfect for beginners or people that may be limited by time and can only get 3 sessions in due to other commitments. The benefit of a 3-day split is that you can implement full-body workouts, ensuring each muscle group is being hit 3 times per week and allowing more than enough time for recovery between sessions.
An example of how this would look is outlined below:
This split can also be a great starting point if fat loss is the goal, as it will allow you to practise and perfect all the basic movements, which are typically bigger movements requiring higher energy output than the smaller isolation exercises. Then at the end of each workout, you can include a ‘finisher’ where you specifically look at increasing cardiovascular endurance, resulting in more bang for your buck. Every session will have you progressing your strength as well as using cardio as a tool to increase cardio capacity and heart health.
THE 4 DAY SPLIT – INTERMEDIATE
This is a great split to implement for improving body composition and advancing strength gains.
You can move onto a 4 day split once you have established your foundations and are comfortable in a gym environment. You can now start thinking a little more about what you want to train and start to condense or even separate your sessions as you see fit. Below is an example of what a 4 day training week may look like:
This would be great if you are now looking to develop strength further and start really focusing on increasing on all areas, devoting longer durations to muscle groups and working on the big compound movements here will be vital. So if your goal is to increase muscle mass/strength a 4-day split can be a great way of doing so. You may even change one of the cardio sessions to something more relevant to what your goals are, meaning 4 strength-based days and light cardio (a walk) or active recovery on your off days.
THE 5 DAY SPLIT – ADVANCED
Specific goal focus (body composition, performance, competing, athlete etc)
You are nailing your nutrition, water intake, recovery and sleep. You are onto the 5 day split, solid strength foundations and a full understanding of training in general and how your body best responds to it. By now you have likely found you favourite training style too. It may be more functional fitness, bodybuilding, endurance or a nice balance of the 3.
With this type of training you must be advanced in your journey and relatively injury free! The demand on the body will be high, but the results will be great. You could even manipulate this so that you for example had 2 days on, 1 off, 3 on, 1 off. So you would have 1 rest day in the week and 1 rest day on the weekend. Once again it all depends on what works for you and if you feel fully recovered one session to the next to give it your absolute all.
You could take it even further and train 6 days per week with only 1 rest day. However, this would usually indicate that you are either in the sporting field or you are an actual athlete or at least have years of training under your belt to train like one. It is all about understanding your body, your goals and what you want out of your training programmes and overall sessions.
Hopefully, this clears up any confusion that you may have had as to how best to train, how many days you should be training and what your workout sessions may include in terms of which days, which muscles.
Of course, with a little understanding of the above you can change the days based on what you do. What I mean by that is you may be more into a bodybuilding style of training whereas someone else is into CrossFit. So your days, muscle groups/movements, focus will be different.
Essentially though you are likely to have the same desired outcome. That being better movement, an increase in muscle mass, a decrease in overall bodyfat (unless a powerlifter, but that’s a whole different game!), an increase in confidence and essentially to move well and lead a better, healthier more sustainable way of life.
We can manipulate our training and nutrition to mirror the above. So whether weight loss,
maintenance or weight gain is the goal. One of the above plans and a little bit of knowledge/guidance from a coach can help you get there! Part of the result is the journey, so it’s always best to find your path and enjoy it!
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